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Deana Lawson

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Rochester, New York

Birth year

Lives in
New York

Works in
New York


Representing galleries

Deana Lawson’s photographs are inspired by the materiality and expression of black culture(s) globally. Her work negotiates a knowledge of selfhood through a profoundly corporeal dimension. Lawson’s pictures speak to the ways that sexuality, violence, family, and social status may be written, sometimes literally, upon the body. Lawson utilizes a wide range of photographic languages, including staged imagery, appropriated pictures given to her by subjects, and images she discovers in public media.

“ What you see in her work is photographer as cultural anthropologist but also as cultural vivisectionist and forensic curator. Her practice subtly contests the suppression of Black visual epistemologies--as much through absence as presence, withheld information as much as cultural saturation bombing. Drawing the spectators eye to how people command space within the frame, how they proclaim ownership of selfhood before the camera is a recurring motif. Her work seems always about the desire to represent social intimacies that defy stereotype and pathology while subtly acknowledging the vitality of lives abandoned by the dominant social order. ” Greg Tate, Writer & Musician 2011

Deana Lawson's work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, PS1, and Studio Museum in Harlem. Her photographs have been published in The New Yorker and Time Magazine, and Lawson was a feature
presenter for the 2013 National Geographic Magazine’s Photography Seminar in Washington, D.C. Recently Lawson
was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, expanding her locations of work to include Jamaica, Haiti, and West Africa. Deana Lawson is currently a Lecturer in Photography at Princeton University. Lawson received an M.F.A. from RISD in 2004.

Exhibitions include:

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY
Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL
Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA
Studio Museum in Harlem
Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
Helene Bailly Gallery, Paris
KIT Museum, Dusseldorf
Light Work Gallery, Syracuse, NY
Cohan & Leslie Gallery, New York, NY
Collette Blanchard Gallery, New York, NY
Artists Space, New York, NY
Print Center, Philadelphia, PA
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
Recent Exhibits

Deana Lawson participated in these exhibits:

Nov, 2015 I am your sister, tête-à-tête
Galerie Nathalie Obadia - Bruxelles
Sep, 2015 Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series
The Art Institute of Chicago
Mar, 2015 City Limit
The Journal Gallery / New York
Nov, 2014 Something Beautiful
Marianne Boesky Gallery 64th Street
Oct, 2014 Crossing Brooklyn
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Click here to see all exhibits for Deana Lawson
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